OVERVIEW: Once folks are caught up with the reading from last week, you will have read descriptions of various ways that researchers who rely on qualitative methods develop their research questions, create rigorous qualitative studies, and make decisions about methodology (what practices--methods of research--will they use to try to answer their research question) they will use.
Bhattacharya offers us an example of a research question she had about a class she was teaching and how effective--or, really, what did a particular assignment accomplish in her class. She offers us a variety of research questions that propel the researcher to use different methodologies to find the answer. Different methods yield different kinds of data and, thus, answer the questions differently.
While it is true that journalists and other writers don't necessarily understand or describe their work as a "research process," it is certainly true that they would say the "do research." And what I would hope you would see is that even though they might go about it differently, many of the kinds of things that Bhattacharya says go into a rigorous qualitative research study is the same kind of work that would go into producing, for instance, a profile piece in The New York Times or, as we read for this week, a personal essay in The New Yorker.
You are reading two pieces this Monday. One is a scholarly piece in the field of Rhetoric and Composition (Writing Studies) and one is piece written by Marcus Laffey (which, it turns out, is a pseudonym), about cop life in the late 1990s in New York City.
DETAILS: Once you've read these two pieces, in your Reading Journal for this week, try to identify, for each of the two articles, what Bhattacharya would call, the research question. Secondly, how do the authors of the two pieces collect their data? What methodologies do they use (remember that Bhattacharya says that most qualitative researchers use a mix of methodologies--that can apply here too). Finally, how does each set of authors establish the "rigor" of their work, their research and their resulting argument (answer to their research question.
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